2021 Making It In Michigan virtual conference general sessions to highlight trends and new opportunities
Michigan food entrepreneurs are invited to participate in online sessions April 27, 28 and May 4, 5 & 6, 2021.
If you are a food business owner or entrepreneur in Michigan, you don’t to want to miss the general sessions at this year’s virtual Making It In Michigan Conference hosted by the Michigan State University Product Center in partnership with Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. General sessions will be held via Zoom from 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 or 10:30 a.m. on April 27 and 28 as well as May 4, 5, and 6, 2021. Pre-registration for all conference sessions is required.
Reach audiences on social media
The opening session on Tuesday, April 27 will focus on how to capitalize on trends in today’s pandemic-driven reality and leveraging social media to influence consumers. Speakers include Nick Lenzi, vice president of business development for Lipari Foods, and Marcia Cripps, co-founder of Agfluence, which works to connect people to science through agriculture. The pandemic has changed the way consumers shop for food and what they are looking for. Join this session to learn 10 ways you can ensure your product remains relevant.
Team building tips from two Michigan leaders
Bob Fish, co-CEO of BIGGBY COFFEE, and Jermale Eddie, owner and co-founder of Malamiah Juice Bar & Eatery in Grand Rapids will be the featured speakers of the general session April 28 from 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Fish and Eddie will talk about their experiences building strong teams. The food industry is famous for high turnover. Fish and Eddie have managed to retain talented employees while building strong networks and contributing back to their communities. Food business of all scales will benefit from their advice and experience.
Adapt to emerging trends
Mintel food marketing experts will be speaking May 4 from 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. Mintel is the world’s leading market intelligence agency. The company’s analysis of consumers, markets, new products, and competitive landscapes provides valuable insight for businesses. Since 1972, Mintel’s predictive analytics and expert recommendations have enabled businesses to make better business decisions faster.
Joining Mintel experts will be packaging expert Brian Wagner, and Nicole Young Potvin, a consulting and marketing professional. Wagner’s 30-year professional career as an entrepreneurial business and technical leader spans Kellogg's, Sara Lee, Carton- Craft Corp., Burger King, General Foods and several other companies. In 2008, he was inducted into the Michigan State University School of Packaging Hall of Fame. Young Potvin has been a member of the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) team since 2018 and works with small businesses throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to help them increase sales through expanded marketing efforts. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear this important information to help you better connect with your customers.
Connect with retailers
One of the most popular sessions at the annual Making It In Michigan conference is our major retailer panel discussion. This is your chance to hear directly from buyers at Meijer, SpartanNash, Whole Foods, Kroger, and Busch’s on the best ways to build a strong partnership with their companies. This panel discussion will be moderated by Becky DeYoung, innovation counselor with the MSU Product Center and will take place May 5 from 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Empowerment through diversity and equity
The closing speaker will be Quentin Tyler, the associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in the Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and acting director of MSU Extension. Tyler will be speaking about the importance of diversity and equity in the food industry. As a member of the CANR leadership team, Tyler provides guidance and vision for recruiting and retaining diverse and inclusive faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students; and identifies and responds to areas in need of multicultural engagement. Prior to MSU, Tyler served as assistant dean and director of diversity at the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. The 2021 award winners will also be announced during the closing session.
Register and connect at MIIM
For detailed conference or trade show information visit https://www.canr.msu.edu/miim/ or contact ANR Event Services at firstname.lastname@example.org. Michigan State University Extension and the MSU Product Center support entrepreneurs in the food industry by offering food product businesses the information and tools they need to succeed today. Previous Making It In Michigan conferences have attracted nearly 200 food product businesses and dozens of food business buyers.